Octopus Fan Ban Ridiculous
It’s a ritual every April in Detroit during the playoffs.
No, not the tossing of octopus on the ice as that seems to happen all season long now. It’s the controversy that erupts when the NHL steps in to to curtail the amount of not-so fresh seafood takes flight and lands on the ice at Joe Louis Arena.
This year things have gotten a bit more high profile thanks to a report on Deadspin about a Wings fan who was allowed to enter the arena showing the arena staff that he had an octopus in his possession to then toss on the ice. Problems erupted for him moments later as he was then kicked out of the game and given a citation and fined $500 for living up to the annual tradition.
NHL spokesman had this to say: “NHL security did not direct that this person be arrested or ejected. We do have a prohibition against throwing things to the ice surface since this may cause a delay in game or injury to players or others working on the ice surface.”
Well that doesn’t tell us anything. As far as we’ve ever heard, octo-goo has never led to any injuries of any kind at all. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but after 59 years, I think we’ve got enough of a sample size to say that the chances of something happening is pretty slim.
As a Wings fan, this is a direct slap in the face to the franchise. I was at the game that this happened, I saw the guy run down the stairs and toss the octopus onto the ice as Karen Newman finished up the national anthem. The crowd loved it. They roared louder than they did for the Wings intro (it was pretty bad to be honest, so we won't go there). So I really don't understand what the problem is.
Really, the Red Wings website has it in their history section and they directly market the octopus during the playoffs.
On top of that, the NHL was ballsy enoguh to make a rule limiting Al Sobotka’s famed octopus swings, which are putting a damper on a great sports tradition. During the first round a few years ago, NHL officials declared that Sobotka would be fined if he picked an octopus off the ice and swung it on the ice.
This is where the NHL sucks. They take a great tradition like the Octopus and ruin it for the fans of the Red Wings. There are other examples of this, like rats at the Panthers games in 1996. Did they tell them to stop? Nope. Probably because it made a few fans for Florida. Which is a good thing, NHL, not a bad one. Fans are good. Fans are what give you money. And pissing them off isn't the thing you want to do, which you effectively did with Detroit.
One of the best things to see is that thing flying through the air. Like I said, the fans love it. I love it. So the NHL really pissed me off with blindside, just like they did with stopping Al swing them around, which he did last night anyways. It just goes to show you that no matter what the NHL does you can't kill a tradition.
This is not a huge issue. It's just funny how it got to be like this, because the NHL had to stick their nose in it. Notice how I said that the fan literally showed the octopus to the arena personnel? Then they proceeded to say that it was OK? And then when he asked an usher when he should do it, the guy told him to just run down at the end of the anthem and go straight back to his seat, which he did. And then the NHL officials waved their fingers.
It was very amusing to hear fans calling into the local radio station bashing the NHL for looking into this rather than put their resources into something more worthwhile. The NHL sounds like Sidney Crosby after a hat trick. Let the fans be fans. And screw Gary Bettman. That is all.
I would love to debate the issue so please comment.